Alexandra Pike


  • Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology

Areas of Study


  • BS, Indiana University Bloomington, 2011

  • PhD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2017

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2018-2022


I am a molecular biologist interested in how cells maintain their genomes. Specifically, I study how proteins that bind DNA regulate the molecular machines that perform a variety of tasks in the cell – and what happens when things go wrong!  

My fascination with genome maintenance began while studying biochemistry at Indiana University. Afterwards, I pursued a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at Johns Hopkins, a graduate program that focused on the cellular and molecular changes that underlie human pathologies. My research focused on how cells maintain their telomeres, protective structures at chromosome ends that shorten every time a cell divides. Failure to maintain telomere length causes severe degenerative disease affecting multiple organ systems. Cells from patients with these ‘short-telomere syndromes’ often harbor mutations in genes important for telomere-length regulation. I used mammalian cell culture approaches to study a gene that is mutated in patients with these syndromes to better understand telomere-length regulation.

Telomeres shorten because the DNA replication machinery cannot fully replicate chromosome ends. My postdoctoral research at MIT focused on the biochemistry of DNA replication. To study this, we actually use budding yeast as a model system. Currently, my research involves both biochemical and genetic approaches in yeast to study how single-stranded DNA binding proteins coordinate DNA replication, DNA repair, and telomere-length maintenance.

I am excited to be at Oberlin and share my passion for cellular and molecular biology with you! Outside of research and teaching, I love exploring nature, running, food, and naps.

  • Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

  • DNA Replication and Genome Integrity

  • Telomere Length Regulation

  • Yeast Genetics